Thursday, 10 December 2009

Re-launched SoulSailor/FluffyClouds Blog

Ant Clay has been working long into the night to merge/aggregate/re-launch his blog, and I must say it looks pretty cool ;)

 

image

 

Go check it out!

Post Ratings

Just noticed that Blogger have implemented “Ratings”, so I have had it enabled for a short while on my posts…

 

Image from the BloggerDraft Blog: http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com/2008/06/new-feature-star-ratings.html

 

It’s been there since June 2008 but I hadn’t noticed it before and there doesn't seem to have much noise made about it – it is a “Blogger in Draft” feature so maybe why it’s been quiet and why I’m having issues (see below!).

 

But…

 


--EDIT--

Due to the issues below I have now turned off rating and gone for “reactions”!

 

Am trying to get the background of the star rating to something other than white.

Seems to be set via: expr:g:background-color='data:backgroundColor'

But I can’t work out how to overide this.

I’ve tried setting this to a colour manually: expr:g:background-color=’#EEF2D5’

No joy…

Tried adding:

<span class='star-ratings' background='#EEF2D5'>

No joy…

Tried adding CSS:

.star-ratings {

background:#eef2d5;

}

No Joy…

Tried adding:

<style type='text/css'>

/*

* <Variable name='bgcolor' description='Page Background Color' type='color' default='#eef2d5'/>

* <Variable name='mainBgColor' description='Page Background Color' type='color' default='#eef2d5'/>

/*

</style>

As the combination of the following two articles made it like like it ought to work:

> http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com/2008/06/new-feature-star-ratings.html

> http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en-uk&answer=46871&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;topic=12488

No Joy…

 

Tried adding another background=’#EEF2D5’ to the DIV that is used:

<div expr:g:background-color='data:backgroundColor' expr:g:text-color='data:textColor' expr:g:url='data:post.absoluteUrl' g:height='42' g:type='RatingPanel' g:width='280' background='#EEF2D5'/>

And changing the DIV class to:

<div g:background='#EEF2D5' expr:g:text-color='data:textColor' expr:g:url='data:post.absoluteUrl' g:height='42' g:type='RatingPanel' g:width='280' />

No Joy…

 

Sensing a theme yet?

 

Google searches have been of little use, most useful posts/articles were:

> http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=7783584179e0d450&hl=en

> http://www.bloggerbuster.com/2008/07/how-to-add-star-ratings-to-your-blogger.html (the comments had some tips)


The reason, at least I think this is the reason, is that the background color is set in too many place for me to easily override, there also appears to be an external CSS called for the ratings…

 

Using the IE Dev Toolbar I have found no less than 5 (yes 5!!!) places that it is set to white…

 

1 - <div g:width="280" g:url="http://www.mattgrovesblog.com/2009/12/ratings-enabled.html" g:type="RatingPanel" g:text-color="000000" g:height="42" g:background-color="ffffff">

 

2 - <iframe width="280" height="42" class="RatingPanelCustom" src="http://www.google.com/reviews/widgets?widgetName=RatingPanel&width=280&height=42&backgroundColor=ffffff&referrer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mattgrovesblog.com%2F&jsApi=0&profiler=0&req=%7B%22url%22%3A%22http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mattgrovesblog.com%2F2009%2F12%2Fratings-enabled.html%22%2C%22width%22%3A280%2C%22height%22%3A42%2C%22backgroundColor%22%3A%22ffffff%22%2C%22textColor%22%3A%22000000%22%7D" frameBorder="0">

 

3 - <table class="zzRatingPanel" style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000;" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0">

 

4 - <span class="zzAggregateRating" style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000;">

5 - <span class="zzRatingEdit" style="background-color: #ffffff; color: #000000;">

 

Surprisingly the CSS (http://www.google.com/reviews/css/zz_rating.css) doesn’t actually have colours being set (this CSS is really badly formatted by the way)….

 

I’d rather have stars than the “reactions”, mainly because they look ‘cooler’, but until I find a way (or some kind soul points it out to me!) I’ll go with reactions rather than a starred rating.

 

Shame.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

How many Matt's?

 

Most of us have multiple aspects to their lives. Should a blog (or other online presence) reflect this?

 

Yes. Absolutely.

 

Should someone maintain separate blogs for each key “aspect” of their lives?

 

Maybe. But probably not, in my opinion at least.

 

The way I look at this is that my blog is my thoughts, my opinions, my ideas, my commentary, irrespective of the content. I may blog about SharePoint one day, then photography the next, and some random nonsense the day after… Or indeed most of the time ;) Either way, it is me blogging it, this is the common thread running through everything…

I am also not overly fussed about maintaining multiple identities or brands, they would, in my opinion, overlap and merge to such an extent that trying to keep them separated/isolated wouldn’t work.

Maybe I’m wrong.

 

The readers of my blog may find the mix interesting, they may only bother with posts categorised/tagged with certain terms, I would like to hear what you think and how you read this blog.

Does this work?

Am I wrong, right, or (as I often am) in that delicious grey area in between? I guess, as previously stated: “It depends…”

 

But I believe that, in the words of Matt Groves and U2…

 

One Matt. One brand. One blog.

                                        -Matt Groves

 

One love, one life, one blood, you gotta do what you should, one life - with each other, sisters, brothers....

                                         -U2

The way I look at it is:

 

I am me. I work. I play. I SharePoint. I take photographs. I have a family. I like to fish. I play golf (albeit badly). I like Rugby. I am me.

 

[Thanks to Tom Short and Ant Clay for providing the question, this post is based is based on the response I gave them]

Monday, 7 December 2009

Presentations – the 5 rules

I really enjoy delivering presentations.

My style is constantly evolving, but there are a few elements that will probably not change, I differ from the majority of my colleagues as I firmly believe that “traditional” presentations lack effectiveness.

 

There are are 2 main books I would point you at if you asked how to be a better presenter:

 

Presentation Zen Slide:ology

 

Presentation Zen (Garr Reynolds) is a general guide to delivering presentations, Slide:ology (Nancy Duarte) is more focussed on the slideware. Both are excellent reads!

[Thanks to Ant Clay for lending me Slide:ology]

 

You can get the “5 rules” that Duarte apply from within PowerPoint 2010!!!! Read the Duarte blog post here: http://blog.duarte.com/2009/11/the-microsoft-office-2010-public-beta-is-available-and-we%e2%80%99re-in-it/

 

Open PowerPoint 2010 > Click on File > New >  In Available Templates and Themes click on Sample Templates

 

select sample templates

Open: Five Rules

 

Select 5 rules

Start the Slide Show (either hit F5 or from the Slide Show ribbon element click From Beginning)

 

This is well worth 5 minutes of your time….

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Good enough is good enough (?)

This has been a hectic month.

It has been a very hectic year.

 

Between work and family life I have struggled to get much done. I came up with a mantra for this year around February time, after my good friend Malcolm sadly passed away and I was thinking about priorities in life…

 

“Good enough is good enough…”

 

After some brief analysis of where my time was being spent I realised that my desire to exceed expectation and to over-deliver was sucking my time away.

 

So, I thought I could address this by focussing on delivering the “acceptable”, something that is “good enough”.

 

I have been told that my perception of “good enough” is what needs focus and attention.

 

Or maybe it doesn’t?

 

What is wrong with striving to be the best I can be? To author the best documents and content? To deliver the best solutions?

 

Image courtesy of Hugh MacLeod and gapingvoid.com

Image from: http://gapingvoid.com/

 

I agree that sometimes “good enough is good enough” – but I can’t default to it…

 

Therefore I will continue to strive, to push and surpass. But when I need, or want, it to be, good enough will have to be good enough…

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The “when” rumours are starting…

Just seen this: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Windows/Microsoft-Office-2010-Coming-in-June-840961/

 

image

 

That states:

 

"We expect Office 2010 and related products to be generally available in June 2010," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail to eWEEK on Dec. 1.

 

Fascinating…

Seagull in flight

Just been reminded of this shot I took on holiday this year but never published…

 

Seagull in Flight - by Matt Groves

“Seagull in flight” – Matt Groves (June 2009)

 

I like it ;)

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Dear Santa – can I have a 7D for Christmas?

After weeks drooling over online and magazine reviews, and generally suffering from geek-need-new-toy desire, I will be getting one!!

 

image couresy of DPReview.com

The Canon 7D

 

As usual, DPReview have an excellent (and detailed) review: http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos7d/

 

Official Canon micro-site for the 7D: http://www.canon-europe.com/cpn_eos7d/ (some good videos)

 

I am sooooo pleased that Mrs G is letting me have one ;)

[thanks babe, love you!!]

 

The main reasons I want need one are:

 

> 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor = awesome detail and no need to spend £x,000’s on new glass for a full frame body!

> 8fps shooting = wow! no more missed shots of the kids doing something hilarious ;)

> ISO 100-12800 = and the reports/reviews show well controlled noise at higher ISO, better for me shooting the kids indoors ;)

> 19 cross-type AF points and new dedicated AF sensor with point and zone selection = fast and accurate AF ;)

> iFCL metering system with 63-zone metering for Focus, Colour and Luminance = great exposures ;)
> Dual "DIGIC 4" = speed, low noise, sharp, sexy and slick image output ;)

> Full HD movie =  one Sony Handicam destined for ebay ;)

> Integrated Speedlite Transmitter = so my 580EXII will work off-camera further than 1m away (my cable is only 1m long!) with full TTL2 support ;)

> 3” Clear View II LCD – much better than the LCD on my 400D ;)

> Live View - not new to Canon but new to a 400D owner! ;)

> Magnesium body + environmental protection = virtually indestructible, well, OK, maybe not, but super-cool nonetheless ;)

> BULB-1/8000 sec shutter = twice as fast as the 400D ;)

> Richer info in the viewfinder = less looking down at the LCD ;)

> Top LCD panel – again, not new, but new to a 400D owner ;)

> Highlight Tone Priority & Auto Lighting Optimizer = great exposures ;)

> 2 continuous modes, 8fps and ~3fps ;)

> M-RAW and S-RAW ;)

> Massively customisable menus and settings ;)

 

Waiting until pay day will be a long wait though……….

New version of Picasa

There is a new version of Picasa available (3.5), it’s been out for a over a month but I’ve only just caught up on the Picasa Blog to see the news!

 

logo[1]

 

The face recognition looks really smart ;)

I really like this app, the basic edits are often all I need and the slick integration with Picasa Web Albums is great…

 

Go get it: http://picasa.google.co.uk/

We are recruiting!

We are currently recruiting for several positions, please get in touch via the Trinity website or with me directly...

Usual company info is available here: www.tesl.com

I've been here for over 5 years and I think it's a great place to work, we have a well established and exceptionally talented SharePoint team, we need more exceptional people to join us!

We offer excellent career development and have some really exciting opportunities in the pipeline!

 

Senior Consultants/Architects - £60-80k +
http://www.tesl.com/TESL/Careers/Jobs/Strategic+consultant+Microsoft+SharePoint+Architect.htm
http://www.tesl.com/TESL/Careers/Jobs/strategic+consultant+Web+Application+Architect.htm

 

SharePoint Technical Specialist - £30-45k +
http://www.tesl.com/TESL/Careers/Jobs/SharePoint+Technical+Specialist.htm

 

Senior Developers - £35k +
http://www.tesl.com/TESL/Careers/Jobs/Senior+Systems+Developer.htm

 

UX Specialist - £25-35k +
http://www.tesl.com/TESL/Careers/Jobs/User+Interface+Web+Designer.htm

 

Please get in touch via our Website (www.tesl.com) or with me (see below) directly, I am happy to answer any questions and if you'd rather have an informal chat then I'd like to hear from you...


At this time I do not want to hear from agencies, the roles are all permanent (although contracts may be offered from time to time).

 

email: mattg@tesl.com
web: www.tesl.com
Blog: www.mattgrovesblog.com (but you knew that as your looking at it!)
Twitter: @mattgroves
LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/mattgroves

Monday, 30 November 2009

My tweet cloud

I am a big fan of tag clouds, word clouds (and fluffy clouds of innovation) and often use wordle to create word clouds (as seen in my last deck used at SUGUK: http://www.mattgrovesblog.com/2009/07/suguk-slides.html – slides 24,25 and 26).

 

So when @soulsailor mentioned the TweetCloud at http://tweetcloud.icodeforlove.com/ I had to try it ;)

 

0ec96b34f4e048cb914de9b6c0f0eada[1]

Top 3 words:

 

> 2010

> blogged

> sharepoint

 

No big surprises there then ;)

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Key considerations for SharePoint 2010

Before you rush off to deploy 2010, take a moment to pause and think if you’re going to hit some stumbling blocks…

While there is so much in 2010 to get excited about, there is the day-to-day reality of “real world IT” to consider, here are a few of my thoughts about what you should be thinking and discussing before you get too far…

 

1. SharePoint 2010 requires x64 (including x64 SQL).

2. You cannot “skip” MOSS2007 and go straight to SP2010 from SPS2003

3. Does your licencing cover you? Did you include SA when you bought your 2007 licences?

4. How have you customised 2007? Will your customisations migrate easily? How much have the users done (that you may not know about)?

5. Do you know which other systems within your estate integrate with SharePoint? Will they work with 2010?

6. IE 6 is NOT a supported browser!!

SharePoint Designer 2007/2010 and x86/x64

Just fell foul of not reading the documentation. DOH!

 

This is important information for anyone who needs their laptop/client PC to work with both SharePoint 2007 AND 2010.

 

On the SPD 2010 download page it does clearly state:

 

SharePoint Designer 2010 only connects to SharePoint 2010. To connect to SharePoint 2007 and earlier sites you must continue to use SPD 2007 . If you elect to install both applications side-by-side, you must download the 32-bit version of SPD 2010. Please also note that 64 bit Office applications will not run if SPD 2007 is installed; 64bit Office 2010 applications should only be used if not connecting to SharePoint 2007 servers.

 

So… If, like me, you need to work with both 2007 and 2010 then you need:

 

> SharePoint Designer 2007

> SharePoint Designer 2010 Beta 2 32bit

> Office 2010 beta 2 32bit (or Office 2007, I suppose…)

Note to self: RTFM!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Extending iPhone battery

I was recently asked (by a surprising convert to the iPhone, you know who you are Bob!) about extending the battery life, so i sent him this:

 

>Turn off WiFi/Bluetooth when not needed

>Disable "push" and sync at an interval

>Dim the screen

>Only charge when <3% remaining (requires discipline that I often don't have!)

>Turn it off overnight!

>Turn off vibration for alerts/calls/games

>Turn off notifications

>Don't have loads of email/calendar/etc accounts on the iphone

>Disable 3G! (we seldom get proper 3G coverage in the UK anyway - outside major cities)

>Disable location services

>Decrease auto-off setting to 1 or 2 mins (from default of 5)

>Turn off "load remote images" on email

>Turn off repeating alerts for email/sms/appointments

 

I have found it better to sync large volumes (eg app updates) over Wifi than over Edge/3G, as the time is so much shorter the power drain is actually less...

 

Hopefully someone will find this useful…

Teaching narrow specialists to address a broader issue

Just read this 2-part blog post that I thought good enough to share.

It is from a legal perspective but has relevance for senior consultants in many ways…

image

Part 1: http://www.hardingco.com/blog/2009/11/18/teaching-narrow-specialists-how-to-address-a-broad-issue/

Part 2: http://www.hardingco.com/blog/2009/11/23/teaching-narrow-specialists-how-to-address-a-broad-issue-part-2/

Thursday, 19 November 2009

New (or rather “future”) social features in Outlook 2010

As an advocate of social computing I was eager to look at some of the social features in Outlook 2010 beta 2 (to say nothing of the features in SharePoint 2010 beta 2!!).

 

I had a spare few minutes today so I thought I’d have a look at what’s there, and I see potential, unfortunately Microsoft aren’t quite there yet. Especially when compared to third party add-ins we’ve had for a while (e.g. LinkedIn and Xobni).

>> on a side note I am a massive fan of the “grab” function in the LinkedIn add-in, you select an email signature and “grab” will automatically create a contact for you!!

 

The advantages Microsoft have the ease of integration with SharePoint 2010, and until we migrate to 2010 I guess I have to miss out on full functionality (except in the test rigs we have).

 

The OOTB experience is OK, you get:

 

   > Conversation history from OCS

   > Emails

   > Meetings

 

Without SP2010 I’m missing:

 

   > Activities (from the Activity feed)

   > Status Updates (from, well, status updates)

 

This is actually quite powerful when you think about what it is offering.

 

image

This people centric view will, IMO, add tangible value to the user experience and facilitate better and more efficient interaction within a business and with the addition of external data, federated OCS, SharePoint Extranets (etc) add contextual user data to inter-business communications.

 

I am pleased that SharePoint and Office are leading Microsoft’s social capability, an obvious next step is to bring the same data into the Office Communicator client…

 

Disappointingly there are no connections to other platforms available yet, but it is still in Beta, so I think we should cut MSFT some slack ;)

 

You can imagine how easy it would be for users to add social platforms, just click “add” then select from the available options:

 

image

 

 

Today, you have SharePoint (2010 only!) in the list, the site where you add more currently states:

 

Currently, there are no social network add-ins available as of the beta release of Outlook 2010.  But in the months to come, this page will be updated with links to new partner networks as they become available. 

In addition to the add-ins that Microsoft and our partner social networks produce, we are making a software developers’ kit available that includes documentation on how to build an add-in for any network you choose. 

Please check back often for updates.

 

One thing that is currently confusing me is where it is trying to get the contact images from (see below).

 

image

It seems that there is an inconsistency here… I can only assume that it is looking for the picture in AD (??).

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Office 2010 issues

I have now installed (three times!) the Beta 2 build of Office 2010.

 

Having 2 issues:

 

  1. The title bar still states “Technical Preview”

  2. I have been unable to activate Office (error stated a problem with the “setup controller”)

 

The first seems to be a known issue, excerpt from a post to the beta forums:

 

“This is a known issue when you uninstall the Technical Preview build and
then install the Beta build.  As long as you click on File tab | Help and
see 4536 as your build number, then you are using the official Office 2010
Beta build.”

 

So, I have ignored issue 1 as it doesn’t really matter. I would add that an easier way of checking you’re running Beta 2 is that the program icons are all different!

 

Issue 2 was what lead me to uninstall/reinstall three times. After much digging/tracing/google-ing I was at a loss, but by chance I selected “change” rather than “uninstall” on Office 2010…

 

image

 

This then allows you to enter the product key!

 

image

So, go here and enter your key, then wait around 5 minutes while it does something (??), then you’re sorted ;)

 

Open up an Office app (e.g Outlook) and you will prompted to activate:

 

image    image

 

 

After activating you will still be warned that the product isn’t activated (with a rather prominent red title bar!).

 

image

Close the app, if you opened Outlook, as I did, then remember to wait until is it really closed, then re-open and you should no longer have a red title bar.

 

You can confirm you’re OK by looking at “help” in the out space back stage UI:

 

image

Job done.

 

This also seems to resolve Issue 1, an nice bonus ;)

 

I’m sure that it won’t be this much of a PITA come RC/B2TR/RTM…

Monday, 16 November 2009

Office 2010 Beta available!

The beta is now available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers!

 

image

But no servers on MSDN (for me anyway)…

 

:(

 

But… They are there on Connect:

 

image

 

Downloading now ;)

SP2010 installation error!

I really enjoy participating in beta programmes, having to work things out for yourself with very limited support from the blogosphere and UseNet is (usually) an enjoyable challenge, the SharePoint 2010 beta is no exception…

 

Well, I say “no exception” but what I mean is “An exception of type Microsoft.SharePoint.PostSetupConfiguration.PostSetupConfigurationTaskException was thrown.  Additional exception information: An error has occurred while validating the configuration settings.  An exception of type System.ArgumentNullException was thrown.  Additional exception information: The errorData argument cannot be null or zero length. “

 

After some diagnosis found this was due to the Windows firewall blocking PSConfig from talking to remote hosts!

 

So, what the error should say is:

 

Due to the Windows Firewall being enabled the PSConfig cannot create a connection to remote hosts (eg. your SQL server!!). Please allow PSConfig out through the firewall!

 

Having now created the firewall rule I am making progress!

 

Of course, some will simply disable Windows Firewall ;)

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Running multiple browsers (without installing them or using a VM)

I often have the need to quickly test something in a different browser, so I have a few installed on my Windows 7 laptop, and others (often older versions) running in VM’s. Obviously this works OK but can be a pain to boot/resume a VM for a quick browser test.

 

I happened across this today which works quite well: http://www.spoon.net/browsers/

 

image

This installs a plugin that runs the browser from the web.

 

I guess it’s directly analogous to Microsoft App-V, VMWare ThinApp and Citrix XenApp virtualisation.

Except this doesn’t need a massive infrastructure to run!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Sysprep Windows 2008 R2

Just wasted a day of my time troubleshooting an issue that was tracked back to being an issue with the Sysprep image of Windows Server 2008 R2 that I was using…

 

Basically it hadn’t been sysprep’d in the correct manner…

 

The issue I was seeing was the inability to add a domain user to a local group on a member server, the account would resolve OK but the user was not properly added.

I also received an error running the SharePoint 2010 config wizard:

 

An exception of type System.Security.Principal.IdentityNotMappedException was thrown.  Additional exception information: Some or all identity references could not be translated

 

This was generated after entering the SQL server name/DB and the Farm account credentials…

 

I had to throw away my DC, my SQL server and my SharePoint 2010 server…

 

Starting all over again :(

 

So, the correct sysprep method is as follows:

 

  1. Forget the GUI!
  2. Run (from elevated command prompt):

c:\windows\system32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /quiet /generalize /oobe /shutdown

 

image

 

This works fine…

 

-I am ignoring the spelling of “generalize” ;)

 

--EDIT--

 

Please note: the mini-setup that runs after booting a sysprep R2 image does not prompt for Computer name, you’ll have to change this manually. I would recommend not changing the computer name in the same operation as joining a domain, change the name and reboot, then join domain and reboot. This may no longer be an issue but I remember having issues in the Windows 2000 days with doing this and these kind of practices tend to stick with me ;)

Monday, 9 November 2009

SharePoint 2010 Evolution Conference

One of my sessions has been confirmed at the Evolution Conference!

 

SP2010EvoBanner_Large[1]

 

My session is currently titled: “What does Web 2.0 and social networking mean to the user?” [subject to change]

 

Looking through the list of speakers and sessions (agenda: http://www.sharepointevolutionconference.com/Agenda.html) it looks to be a great conference!

 

I’m going to miss out on Chris O’Brien (blog, twitter) talking about managing the application lifecycle (level 400 deep dive) as he’s on at the same time as me! Guess I’ll have to wait for the DVD ;)

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Fireworks photos

I managed to get out this year and take some reasonable shots of the fireworks.

I went to the “largest organised display in Leicestershire” at Abbey Park.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Audiences in SharePoint 2010

Just noticed a bit of an inconsistency between the People SA and the Audience Timer job definition/config.

 

Basically, you have 2 ways of configuring the same thing, however, if you go via the Timer job you can set values that don’t exist if you go via the People SA…

 

What is more worrying is that if you set the value to (for example) Minutes in the Timer Job UI the SA reports “no schedule set”…

 

image

[click to open larger image]

 

Wondering what value is actually set (or effective, depending on terminology) I thought Powershell would help… So I fired it up (and learned my lesson from my earlier post!) and ventured into the supplied help file…

 

Firstly, let me say OMG! what an awful help file, no search, nothing in any discernable order…

 

However, after much manual searching I found “Get-SPTimerJob”, sounded like it ought to do the trick ;)

 

So, I tried:

 

PS C:\Windows\system32> get-sptimerjob -type “Audience Compilation Job”

 

Nothing returned!

 

Then I tried:

 

PS C:\Windows\system32> get-sptimerjob -type ea4b7a03-27fa-4f64-885b-beaa8a4886c9

 

(got the GUID from the querystring on the URL in the web UI).

 

Nothing returned!

 

I give up. More important things to worry about…

Powershell error: The farm is not available

Running PowerShell (SharePoint v4 management console) I have been getting this error:

 

“The farm is not available”

 

image

 

Even as a member of the Farm Administrators group!

 

Tracked this down to a SQL access error, as although my account (DOMAIN\adm-mattg) is a farm admin and am merrily configuring SharePoint through the SCA web UI I cannot run the Powershell console as I need SQL rights.

 

My old friend “shift, right-click > run as” came to the rescue, running Powershell as the farm account works fine.

Monday, 2 November 2009

SharePoint is clay?

I saw a tweet from Walton Smith (http://twitter.com/walton3/) that stated:

 

conf #e2conf-3 #olivermarks "Microsoft is foundational" SharePoint is clay, use it to build on, it is not there yet, but getting better

 

This got me thinking…

 

Sourced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Makingpottery.jpg

Yes, in many respects SharePoint is a lump of clay, you can mould and shape it into whatever you want or need it to be (within reason). This covers the “SharePoint is a platform” side of things quite nicely. I’ll add that to my list of SharePoint analogies, similes and metaphors:

 

SharePoint is an Elephant

SharePoint is a Swiss Army Knife

SharePoint is a Toolbox

SharePoint is Lego

 

* list incomplete: let’s not even go near the Pizza, Burger, Washing Line or Drug Dealer ones ;)

 

The thing is, none of them actually cover it all…

 

Clay – does nothing until you mould it (“throw it” is, I believe, the correct terminology?).

Swiss Army Knife – does various things, straight OOTB, but you can’t extend it.

Toolbox – tools do nothing by themselves.

Lego – arrives needing assembly.

Elephant - (my personal favourite) see Woody’s post

 

I was working on a Camera simile:

 

Image Sourced from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Canon_EOS_50D.jpg SharePoint is like a DSLR. You buy a kit and you can take photo’s straight OOTB. But, you can extend the functionality you get (or, indeed, the quality of the results) by adding specialist lens, a flashgun, a battery grip…

 

This is close, but I can’t really think of anything you “make yourself”, which is, for me, one of really compelling elements of SharePoint.

 

Steve Ballmer said (during his keynote at SPC09) “What is SharePoint? … It’s kinds like an operating system” – I don’t really like this…

 

I have also been working on the “house” (not the TV series) simile:

 

SharePoint is like your (new build) house. Yours is based on the same materials as the guy next door, but your is different. Your house serves several purposes straight away.

You can extend your house, either yourself or by having a specialist come in and do it for you.

You can decorate your house in anyway you choose.

If you don’t like part of your house you can rip down a wall to change it. Some walls are more expensive to rip down than others.

If you don’t like part of your house you can build a new wall to change it. Some walls are more expensive to build than others.

If you really wanted a house with a pool, but couldn’t afford one, you can add it later.

You may not have wanted or needed the double garage, but the house came with it anyway, you don’t have to use it. But even if you don’t use it, you’re still paying for it.

You didn't need to worry about integrating your house with mains electricity or water, it came like that.

 

 

I think this one has legs ;)

Plumbing, foundations, security, culture, adoption, accessibility… They all ought to work ;)

I could also add: The architect who designed your house will probably never live in it

 

So, my quest for the perfect analogy, simile and/or metaphor continues… Clay is good, I like it and will probably use it, but it isn’t perfect…

 

I like the “House” – what do you think ??

Friday, 30 October 2009

Did I miss a version of SharePoint?

Just tried to edit my Live MySite (in MOSS 2007) suing SPD 2010, got an error…

 

I’m normally up to speed on SharePoint releases but I think I missed “SharePoint 2009”:

 

image

 

Off to (re)install SPD 2007 ;)

Unable to Import profiles from AD

Finally made time to look at the Tech Preview (renewed excitement after SPC) and have been having issues with the “People” service app.

I can connect to AD and enumerate the OU’s:

 

image

 

But cannot get the profiles imported, looking in the logging (using SMS Trace – a tool I’ve been using for years for log file viewing after being introduced to it by Jeff Tremaine at Microsoft) I find the following error:

 

10/30/2009 10:22:58.49     w3wp.exe (0x1924)                           0x17E0    SharePoint Portal Server          User Profiles                     7hxs    High        EditDSServer.ButtonOK_Click(): System.ServiceModel.EndpointNotFoundException: Could not connect to http://sp2010tp:5725/ResourceManagementService/MEX. TCP error code 10061: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 10.0.1.1:5725.  ---> System.Net.WebException: Unable to connect to the remote server ---> System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it 10.0.1.1:5725     at System.Net.Sockets.Socket.DoConnect(EndPoint endPointSnapshot, SocketAddress socketAddress)     at System.Net.ServicePoint.ConnectSocketInternal(Boolean connectFailure, Socket s4, Socket s6, Socket& socket, IPAddress& address, ConnectSocketState state, IAsyncResult asyncResult, Int32 timeout, Exception& exception)     --- End of...    4012e7da-e72a-415a-b7a5-e42de6c5299b

 

I’m still not entirely comfortable with the move to WCF as being more IT Pro than Dev I would rather be able to look in IIS and see what’s going on, would certainly be easier to troubleshoot this particular issue ;)

Anyway, I’ve tried getting the WSDL by accessing the URL in IE, no joy. So I thought I’d check if there is something listening on 5725 (port referenced in error above).

These next steps took me back ;)

 

Ran: netstat -ano |find /i "listening" and netstat -ano |find /i "established"

 

Nothing is listening on 5725, no wonder I’m seeing error 10061.

 

I guess you’re hoping for the solution to appear next…

 

Sorry, not yet. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to make any progress beyond this point, but will update this post as soon as I have…

 

I have already:

 

  • Disabled Windows Firewall
  • Asked my good friend Google

 

Next I’m off to the Beta forums ;)

 

Thursday, 29 October 2009

DCOM error 10016 with SharePoint 2010 on Windows Server 2008 R2

This used to happen with MOSS 2007 on Server 2003 too, so I wasn’t that concerned… Usual process of finding the CLSID in the Registry and changing the permissions using the Component services snap-in… Or so I thought…

 

Here is the error:

 

Log Name:      System
Source:        Microsoft-Windows-DistributedCOM
Date:          29/10/2009 11:52:52
Event ID:      10016
Task Category: None
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          CORPNET\_SP_Farm
Computer:      SP2010TP.CORPNET.beta
Description:
The application-specific permission settings do not grant Local Activation permission for the COM Server application with CLSID
{61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1}
and APPID
{61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1}
to the user CORPNET\_SP_Farm SID (S-1-5-21-1469829728-1532128048-1498870291-1109) from address LocalHost (Using LRPC). This security permission can be modified using the Component Services administrative tool.
Event Xml:
<Event xmlns="
http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">
  <System>
    <Provider Name="Microsoft-Windows-DistributedCOM" Guid="{1B562E86-B7AA-4131-BADC-B6F3A001407E}" EventSourceName="DCOM" />
    <EventID Qualifiers="49152">10016</EventID>
    <Version>0</Version>
    <Level>2</Level>
    <Task>0</Task>
    <Opcode>0</Opcode>
    <Keywords>0x80000000000000</Keywords>
    <TimeCreated SystemTime="2009-10-29T11:52:52.000000000Z" />
    <EventRecordID>2246</EventRecordID>
    <Correlation />
    <Execution ProcessID="0" ThreadID="0" />
    <Channel>System</Channel>
    <Computer>SP2010TP.CORPNET.beta</Computer>
    <Security UserID="S-1-5-21-1469829728-1532128048-1498870291-1101" />
  </System>
  <EventData>
    <Data Name="param1">application-specific</Data>
    <Data Name="param2">Local</Data>
    <Data Name="param3">Activation</Data>
    <Data Name="param4">{61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1}</Data>
    <Data Name="param5">{61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1}</Data>
    <Data Name="param6">CORPNET</Data>
    <Data Name="param7">_SP_Farm</Data>
    <Data Name="param8">S-1-5-21-1469829728-1532128048-1498870291-1109</Data>
    <Data Name="param9">LocalHost (Using LRPC)</Data>
  </EventData>
</Event>

 

I found {61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1} to be IISWAMREG as I suspected (no harm in verifying the ID in regedit!).

 

Next, I opened the Component Services Snap-In (StartRun > comexp.msc) and drilled down through Component Services > Computers > My Computer > DCOM Config > IIS WAMREG Admin Service ….

 

Only to find all options greyed out!!

 

image

 

At first I thought UAC was the culprit so I ran did the “right click >run as administrator” which made no difference…

 

Thinking it had to be a permissions issue I fired up my old friend Process Monitor (from Sysinternals: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896645.aspx) and found I didn’t have permission!

 

Date & Time:    29/10/2009 12:25:35
Event Class:    Registry
Operation:    RegOpenKey
Result:    ACCESS DENIED
Path:    HKCR\AppID\{61738644-F196-11D0-9953-00C04FD919C1}
TID:    748
Duration:    0.0000322
Desired Access:    Write, Query Value, Enumerate Sub Keys, Write DAC

 

So back to Regedit to inspect permissions…

 

Found that as an Administrator I didn’t have full control:

 

image

 

Granted CORPNET\Administrators full control, re-opened the MMC and was able to correct the permissions, to do this:

 

Open the Component Services Snap-In (StartRun > comexp.msc) and drill down through Component Services > Computers > My Computer > DCOM Config > IIS WAMREG Admin Service

 

Right click on IIS WAMREG Admin Service and on the Security tab click Edit in the Launch and Activation  Permissions section.

Grant the account referenced in the event log (mine is _SP_Farm) the following permissions:

 

Allow: Local Launch

Allow: Local Activation

 

image

 

All done ;)

 

You might as well grant the same rights to the accounts you’re going to use for running Service Apps at this point (or you’ll be back here in a few minutes anyway!).

 

EDIT:

 

As Tristan (http://tristanwatkins.com/) points out, if you do this for the WSS_WPG and WSS_ADMIN_WPG groups (local to each SP2010 server) rather than individual user accounts you will accommodate future changes. Thanks Tristan!

Monday, 26 October 2009

#SharePhoto at #SPC09

As you know, I am a big fan of twitter, there was an event organised via Twitter while I was at SPC: a walkabout for photographers, there were a few MSFT guys attending and a couple of conference delegates, good times!

I’m sure these aren’t the best shots taken during the walkabout, but I quite like them :)

 

Back from SPC09

The SharePoint Conference 2009 was last week in Las Vegas, I was fortunate enough to attend ;)

You may have seen some of my updates if you follow my twitter stream (look for updates tagged with #SPC09).

I met up with several people I’d been engaging with online and had some great conversations while I was there.

There are so many new features and wins in SP2010 that it would take me hundreds of blog posts to cover them all, however, there are a few things that stand out for me…

In no particular order:

 

  1. Social – loads of excellent functionality to enable connections within an organisation, the “activity feed” and social bookmarking are stand out features, when coupled with the Taxonomy features this gives a rich content management experience. The ability to tag content outside SharePoint is also very powerful (for example, tagging a contact in CRM or a staff member in a HR app, as well as external web content!). The custom sources for Activity Feeds adds value, especially if tied to a structured information system, for example, we could have “Allan Robb has closed a deal with <Company Name> worth £xxx,xxx” sourced from CRM (if he actually put anything in CRM!!!). Tagging drives Tag clouds (which are used everywhere).
  2. Compliance – not necessarily OOTB, but the platform allows far greater scope for delivering compliant solutions. For example:
    • web sites can be created adhering with W3C WCAG 2.0 AA OOTB
    • Records Management – the ability to declare non-document content as records, and in-place record declaration, still no talk (that I’ve seen) of adhering to standards. This means that any content (e.g. a blog post) can be declared as a record.
  3. Distributing working – a much enhanced offline experience (with several options for offline access) coupled with technology advances (such as differential synchronisation – only pushing/pulling changes [not full documents] over the wire) provide a better/faster working environment for IW’s. The ability in the WAC’s (see below) or Office 2010 for multi-party editing will enable real time authoring in a way never seen before. Better mobile device access and SharePoint Workspace Mobile (for Mobile device offline capability).
  4. “ECM for All” – The EMM (Enterprise MetaData Management) provides the ability to have a corporate Taxonomy against which content (all content, not limited to documents) can be classified, this is in addition to Social tagging, basically you now have a Taxonomy (EMM) and Folksonomy (Social bookmarking). I also the content router, this is based on the same principles of the Record Center (in 2007) but is available anywhere, allowing a site owner to define a set of ‘rules’ for content storage location, users then upload content to a ‘drop box’ where it is then routed based on metadata/content-type etc. The meta-data/classification can be used to navigate content – that means on the fly navigation based on the content, not on where it sits or where someone thought it ought to sit!
    The “grouping” of documents into “Document Sets” allow multiple items to be managed as a single entity!
  5. External Lists – using BCS (Business Connectivity Services) to access a LOB system, data can be presented (and managed in) and SharePoint List, this enables rapid a seamless integration. For the IT Pro/Developer it is worth noting that when you define a BCS connection (to SQL or a web service, for example) that BCS creates the CRUD methods for you!
  6. BI/Charting/PerformancePoint – Rich BI is available enabling better decision making, Charting (MSFT acquired/licenced Dundass) is rich a powerful while remaining remarkably easy, reporting on Data inside SharePoint is easy and through the ease of BCS connections reporting on external data is easy too.
  7. Office in a Web Browser – The Office WAC (Web Application Companion) is an Office app in a browser, think Google docs, allowing IW’s to access documents from anywhere and allowing some rich functionality, for example: one demo showed a Visio file with the status of servers in a rack – taking a real time data feed from SCOM via BCS, while this is a geeky example it shows the power and potential of this functionality! 
  8. For The Dev/IT Pro – REST, ATOM, API enhancements, Client OM (ability to call OM from SilverLight/js and Office apps), Remote Blob Storage (ability to store BLOBs outside SQL, inc cloud storage), VS.Net 2010 projects (enhancements for developing and packaging), SPD 2010 (creates WSP not STP), Sandboxed Solutions (partially trusted code, runs in a sand box, admins can define resource thresholds, mainly to support cloud scenarios), BCS (BDC+, now 2-way! creates the CRUD for you!), Lists scales to millions of items (SharePoint protects itself against views (etc) that would cause a slow-down!), LINQ, Media Web Part OOTB (this is a SilverLight WP that streams , yes STREAMS media content), Ribbon is everywhere (except VS!)…

There is over 350 hours of content available to me on the “MySPC” site, so this is a very high level and quick brain dump, I wasn’t able to go to all sessions, not even all the ones I wanted to, so there may be a nugget I have missed… More to follow as I look at the other sessions and get my hands dirty with the TP builds…

 

Arpan presented a good overview session, his deck is available here:

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Can I borrow your watch?

Today I was introduced to shitcreekconsulting.com. This funny, inspired and in some cases disturbingly true…

Image copyright shitcreekconsulting.com
 

What is a consultant? Find out here: http://shitcreekconsulting.com/what-is-a-consultant/



According to the guys at shitcreekconsulting.com:

Project success:
Success is best enjoyed over a good, single-malt, Scotch

I think they forgot to include a cigar, I certainly would ;)
Image copyright shitcreekconsulting.com

 

Monday, 21 September 2009

Windows 7 Event

There are a couple of places available at the Windows 7 event later this week.

 

Check it out here: http://www.tesl.com/TESL/Events/Windows+7+preview+workshop.htm

 

I am speaking and covering off the improvements that a user will see, the deployment/management/etc will be covered by some of my colleagues in the Strategic Consulting team. It’s not that I' don’t like these topics, it’s just they’re not as interesting to me ;)

Friday, 4 September 2009

I am not a chimp!!

Looking at the Google analytics and webmaster tools for my new blog, I see that one of the most popular search terms used to find my new blog is “matt groves chimp”. Nice.

 

Thankfully this is nothing to do with me being a chimp, unless you look at things through Darwin’s eyes ;)

 

This all relates to a woman in the USA attacked by a chimp, the medic who saved her life is also called Matt Groves, and I can guarantee it wasn’t me!!

 

See the Fox news article here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,497984,00.html

Windows 7 Mode on Windows 7 (i.e. not XP Mode!)

 

Finally sorted a Windows 7 VM under Windows Virtual PC, works a treat, the “integration features” is very very useful.

 

image

 

I was pleased that Aero Glass works as it doesn’t under VMWare Workstation 6.5 (but does on the beta of Workstation7). The UI is much more performant on WVPC than it is on Workstation 7 – but then there is debugging enabled on the Workstation 7 beta that I can’t turn off.

 

Not done any server comparisons (running Win2k8 under Windows VPC vs Workstation 7) and am unlikely to as Windows VPC isn’t capable of virtualising x64, shame really, MSFT don’t really seem to have a story for the IT Pro who needs to run x64 VM’s on a laptop…

Windows 7 – Bitlocker issues

I am having issues with bitlocker in my new Windows 7 RTM build laptop…

 

Without hardware changes, and simply resuming from sleep/hibernate, the bitlocker protection kicks in…

 

bitlocker2

 

Strangely, after updating my BIOS bitlocker did not kick in, which we were fully expecting.

 

Of all the laptops our IT guys have rebuilt to Vista/7 with bitlocker enabled mine is the only one having this issue, but then I’m also the only one running Office 2010 beta and VMWare Workstation 7 beta, so I tried removing them (beta’s sometimes do strange things) but still had the problem.

 

Anyone else having trouble with Bitlocker on 7?

Friday, 31 July 2009

Viewing multiple calendars in Outlook 2010

I really like the calendar over-lay in Outlook 2007, it makes it so easy to see what your team are up to and where you can schedule time (without the constraint of the Outlooks “find next free time”, which doesn’t take into account ‘provisional’ or ‘flexible’ bookings, etc).

 

The view in 2010 is even better!

 

image

 

The row based view kicks in after you add the 4th person (5 calendars, in addition to your own, if you see what I mean!).

 

This makes looking at multiple diaries much clearer than the column based layout.

 

 

image

The other really useful feature of calendaring in 2010 is calendar groups, this looks just like ‘groups’ did in 2007, but rather than someone else's calendar only being able to exist in one group (I had groups based on organisational departments/teams), this allows the creation of groups where a given calendar can exist in multiple groups.

What I mean by this is that I still have organisational based groups (sales, PMO, developers, etc) but can now add client based (or project based) groupings, see the screen shot to the left for an example.


Here you see the “XXX management” and “XXXX Projects Team”, these are custom groups, all of the ‘members’ calendars exist in the organisational groups as well.

This makes it very easy and quick to see what a given team are up to. Whereas in 2007 I’d have had to tick the individuals within the organisational groups to build an equivalent view.

The only mild disappointment is that if someone appears in multiple groups (and you have multiple groups selected) they appear in the view multiple times.

In the screen shot to the left you’ll see Edd C is in the “Management” and “Projects Team” groups, so his calendar shows twice in my view. Obviously this can be lived with for the few times it occurs, but it would be nice (IMO) to have logic to only show Edd once…

 

More Office 2010 stuff to follow, now I am allowed to talk about the Office 2010 Client apps, you’ll have to wait for the public beta of the servers before I can start posting about them.

 

And…

 

If you have server side questions, please wait, I will not breach NDA to answer them.

Until the NDA is lifted (probably in the public beta timeframe),you can feel free to post questions, but don’t expect a response, yet ;)

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Xing… Yet another social networking site.

I signed up for Xing yesterday after it cropped up again in several of my information feeds:

 

http://uk.techcrunch.com/2009/07/22/xing-launches-an-opensocial-app-assault-on-linkedin/

 

http://blog.slideshare.net/2009/07/22/a-special-treat-for-our-european-users-add-slideshare-to-your-xing-profiles/

 

Matt Groves on Xing

Is this just “yet another social networking site” ?

What value will it add? Why did I sign up?

What is it’s USP?

 

After created (yet another) profile, I was inputting the usual web links (blog, Twitter, Facebook) and was actually surprised to find some notable omissions:

 

image

 

LinkedIn is missing! Now, Xing are saying the site is a professional social networking site, the exclusion/omission of LinkedIn indicates they are worried of the competition with them (?), which, considering the nature of social networking sites (where being “open” is part of the deal) and that the majority of their user base will also be on LinkedIn (an assumption on my part, but considering that the LinkedIn user base is ~43 million compared to Xing’s 7.5 million I think it’s a reasonable one) why not show a LinkedIn profile link?

On the other hand, it may just be an oversight…

 

It also struck me as surprising that some of the other services were included while those like FriendFeed weren’t…

 

Either way this seems a bit strange to me as LinkedIn is, to me, the standard in professional networking sites, in much the same way that Facebook is the standard for “personal” social networking…

Both are IMO mainly because they gained critical mass, crossed the chasm (see below) and “everyone I know is using it”.

 

Technology-Adoption-Lifecycle

Craig Chelius’s graphic describing the ‘Technology adoption process’, as described in Geoffrey Moore's book Crossing the Chasm

 

Xing has existing for a long time (since 2003), which shows they must be doing something right else they would have fizzled out like so many others, but where are they on the curve?

 

Clearly, they have successfully crossed the chasm, with the recent drive to include other social apps (through the Open Social platform API), which the cynic in me could describe as being a year (plus!) behind LinkedIn and a long way behind Facebook, it shows a renewed push.

 

Xing is a German service and some of the social apps supported deliver their content in German (or are scoped to German News for example) which will limit the adoption outside Germany (and/or Europe).

 

The Outlook plug-in (free download, much like LinkedIn’s really, but not as good, but then I am a massive fan of the “Grab Contact” feature of the LinkedIn plug-in!) trawled through my contacts/mailbox and only found 2.

Yes, just 2, both recruitment consultants…

 

I’ll see how it goes in the Xing groups (same concept as LinkedIn groups) and other areas, but I’m not at all convinced that my participation will last…

Meeting requests in Outlook 2010

These are quite nifty, I’m liking it…

 

image

 

The meeting request shows with a diary/calendar view embedded.

 

Shame you can’t resize the calendar (the bottom border ought to be drag-able).

 

Frown sent ;)

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

RIP Email…

Just read this - Killing Email: How and Why I Ditched My Inbox by Leo Babauta (blog, twitter).

 

I wish I could make the leap, but I’m just not ready, in many respects I still like email, but I like the other communication channels much more and them easier and more effective.

 

RIP Email? When I pluck up the courage to abandon you, I won’t miss you…

 

Dear Email,
Like the dinosaur, evolution makes things that are no longer relevant extinct.
Your time has [nearly] passed...

 

Bye!

Tips for spammers

My email address is mail [at] matt-groves [dot] co [dot] uk

 

If you send me an email starting “Dear mail” you #fail.

 

If you send me an email with the subject “we can help you matt-groves”, you #fail.

 

If you send me a mail claiming to have a ridiculously large sum of money for me, you #fail (this one really doesn't compute with me, why not claim to have a realistic figure)

 

Please try harder!

My anti-spam software needs a fresh challenge ;)

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Twitter follows

If you follow me on Twitter you’ll already know this…

 

I will not follow back as a matter of course. I will have a look at your profile, tweets and website/blog (if you include a link) and try to make an informed choice. If it looks good stuff that will add value to me, I’ll follow. If it doesn’t I won’t.

If you fall in between I may follow for a while and then unfollow later.

 

If your profile info is sparse (or full of crap) I am unlikely to follow.

If you protect your updates I almost certainly won’t follow (if you don’t want to share publically then I question if you “get it”).

 

Sorry for being blunt. That’s just me…